Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Thessalonians Words ~ Day 31: Stand Firm

Day 31: Stand Firm

Today we end our words challenge through the books of Thessalonians with, not a word, but a phrase: Stand firm. These two words are a phrase that sums up Paul's hope for these young believers facing severe trials and sufferings, as well as his encouragement to them.

"For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 3:8

"So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter." 2 Thessalonians 2:15

To stand firm is a metaphor Paul uses for perseverance. When he says to stand firm he means to be constant, to persevere, to remain steadfast, to continue on. This phrase is always connected with our faith in Christ. For it is only in the Lord that we have the ability to stand firm, to carry on despite our present circumstances. So often we witness or hear stories of people who have faced trials and ended up walking away from their faith in God as a result. Paul's concern for those who face trials is heard in his encouragement to stand firm, remain steadfast, grounded in your faith in Jesus Christ. The Lord will carry you through, if you just stand firm. Look at his use of this phrase in a few other passages.

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13

"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come...because it is by faith you stand firm." 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, 24.

Then in the book of Ephesians Paul gives insight into some of resources we have in Christ for standing firm:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." Ephesians 6:10-18
I'm so glad you have joined me as we have journeyed through 1 & 2 Thessalonians these past 31 days. I have found studying these two books to be so refreshing and also encouraging. We have been facing such a great trial during this pandemic -  one that has caused great sorrow and loss of life. One that has, unfortunately, deepened the division in our nation, when it should have brought us closer together. One that continues on with full deadly force. Hopefully for you, as it has done for me, these letters of encouragement have helped you find the path to standing firm in the Lord.

I pray that your faith and hope in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, fueled by the Holy Spirit, have allowed Paul's words in these letters to be a model for you as we face trials and suffering, awaiting His Second Coming. May you believe in the love and joy He produces in you, by the presence and power of His Spirit, as you face suffering and trials. He has called you to be sanctified in Him, because to live a holy life pleases God. Use Paul's instructions for the return of Christ, that those in Him - asleep or awake- will be secure in Him on the Day of the Lord, to encourage each other to Christ's perseverance in the trying days we ourselves face. Christ died for us, so we can pray day and night, and thank God the Father for His indescribable gift of grace, enabling us in power with the hope of glory promised by Him who is worthy of all honor and glory and praise. His peace is at work in our hearts enabling us to stand firm in the strength of the Lord.
Thanks again for joining me in 31 Words of Thessalonians!

No comments:

Post a Comment